‘Are you off to the gym, Daddy?’ Ella, my younger daughter, asks me as I grab my kit bag. Today, my girls see a man who’s happy with his weight, takes pride in his fitness and hopes that his good example is rubbing off on them, too.
That wasn’t always the case. A little over a year ago, I was a very different man. I’d been overweight since my teens and gradually put on more weight until now, in my 30s, I was my heaviest ever. My wife is very petite and I found myself wondering if people looked at me and wondered to themselves: ‘What’s she doing with him?’
Then, in September 2013, my elder daughter, Mya, started school and the thought of my little girl being teased about her ‘big daddy’ at the gate started gnawing away at me. I realised it wasn’t just about me – my weight might affect the ones I loved, too.
Even as I contemplated making changes to my eating habits, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. My mum was already losing weight at Slimming World and when I told her I wanted to slim down she said: ‘You have to come and see my Consultant, Judith!’ Having Mum there that first night helped because I was a little anxious. I needn’t have been, though.
The first – and biggest – change I made was eating far more fresh vegetables (the ‘V’ word literally hadn’t passed my lips before). I loved every minute of my time in the kitchen as I experimented with a whole range of recipes, such as Szechuan beef and chilli con carne.
I’d batch cook meals for weekdays, so I wouldn’t be tempted to go off plan when I was busy or tired after work.
As I began to experience success with Slimming World, other areas of my life began to change, too. With the weight coming off, I started to get more active.
I dusted off my old bike from the shed and started to go out cycling. At first it was just weekends, then once I’d got my fitness levels up I started cycling to work a couple of times a week. I even signed up to do some endurance events for charity alongside one of my close mates.
When I joined Slimming World my trousers had a 46in waist. Right now they’re a very comfortable 36ins – I’ve lost a whole 10ins!
With my new size has come new confidence. I know my family are proud of me, too, and that’s something I cherish. Today Mya and Ella see me as their fit and active daddy who can play and run around with them, and that's an amazing feeling.
Make weight loss a team effort with Raith’s steps to success:
Eat together: I cook us all Food Optimising meals using fresh ingredients, so I know my wife and daughters are eating delicious, healthy foods, too.
Get everyone involved in Body Magic: We do more active things as a family – I want healthy habits to be second nature to my girls.
Let your loved ones help you: My wife is brilliant at keeping an eye out for sneaky Syns and slip-ups. Without her support I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.